10 Beautiful Tweets That Will Make You Book a Trip to Hydra, Greece Right Now. Written by Scott McGinnis | Goombay Tally | www.goombaytally.com | Hydra, Greece | Please contact us at [email protected] for feedback, writer and advertisement requests. For those that are unfamiliar with the Greek Islands — “Hydra” is one of the […]
Had a Bad Day? Read This First and Keep Moving Forward.
Written by Kathy McGinnis | Staff Writer for www.goombaytally.com | Mental Wellness
Regardless of how beautiful and dreamy you think your life is right now, we all will invariably, and inevitably encounter some (seemingly) insurmountable challenges and trying times in the future.
Whether you completely tanked a speech right in front of your demanding and critical boss today–and that speech was suppose to help propel your career right into the stratosphere; not to mention that corner office with a window. Your wife of 13 years just told you that she wants a divorce. You just lost your job and don’t know how you’re going to keep the house and support your family. Last night you received a phone call from your brother that one of your parents is sick and only have a few months left. And the horrifying list continues. We’ve all been there in the past–or maybe you’re going through one of these crisis situations right now.
Many motivational speakers and mental health specialists may tell you: it’s not your existing situation or crisis that really matters right now, it’s how you deal with the situation that counts in the long run. I certainly agree. We also know the quintessentially debilitating aspect of a crisis is often that the person going through these events feels completely hopeless with little to no enlightenment or remedy in the near future. Essentially, we just don’t see an immediate or long-term way out of trouble.
“Life Isn’t Always Sunshine and Rainbows – At Times it Can Beat You to Your Knees…”
Life is not like a glossy, star studded Hollywood movie where the world’s problems are neatly diffused and resolved within two hours and the hero walks off into the sunset. Roll credits. Toss your empty popcorn bag and coke into the can as you leave. That certainly would be awesome … but typically not likely. In reality, a crisis cycle will probably look something like this instead:
- A horrible event happens.
- We experience the shock of the event.
- We deal with the event the best way we can given the coping mechanisms that we are personally equipped with (or lack).
- Those who lack effective coping mechanisms may do harmful things to themselves or others that initiates secondary and tertiary impacts which compel a negative spiral and unrecoverable state of dysfunctional behavior.
- Those with healthier coping mechanisms begin the recovery process and initiate positive–rehabilitative actions.
- The situation begins to improve either at a slow or advanced rate accordingly.
- We recover, to some extent, or at least move on with our lives.
…life is not like a glossy, star studded Hollywood movie where the world’s problems are neatly resolved and normalized within two hours and the hero walks off into the sunset.
People who are in crisis often find it hard enough just to crawl out of bed and stumble into the shower everyday, much less get themselves pumped up and motivated to face their problems and seek resolution. Depression will steal your appetite, obliterate your sleep cycle, make you lose interest in things that your are normally passionate about, and compel you to abandon your friends, family, and existing support system.
Some of Life’s Issues May Require Professional Help – Go See Them Now!
I will be the first to admit that I don’t have the credentials to pull you out of the funk you may be in right now, but I can share with you some quick, guerrilla strategies and tips that helped me wade through some certifiably cringe-worthy situations and crisis in my life.
First, if you are dealing with a problem that you don’t seem to be able to functionally and effectively manage, please stop reading this article and seek professional help from a clinician who is trained to provide you with the right level and degree of behavioral and psychological assistance. There are resources available to you right now, contact the following numbers if you need help:
- US Suicide Hotline – 800-784-2433
- NDMDA Depression Hotline – Support Group – 800-826-3632
- Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline – 630-482-9696
- Crisis Help Line – 800-233-4357
(Source: psychcentral.com, John M. Grohol, Psy.D.)
I’ve simply listed some quick, actionable strategies that at times may seem superficial or even silly, but have helped me muster through some tough times. That said, the absolute best advice I can give you when you’re dealing with hard times, is to talk to someone…don’t hide from it and don’t pretend everything is O.K.
Here we go:
1. Starbucks and a Buddy.
Call a family member or friend right now and go have coffee. This is a great opportunity to talk about your issues. Additionally, he or she may have valuable and insightful perspectives on your issue that you’ve never even thought of. Conversely, hiding in your apartment with the curtains drawn and the lights turned off will probably lower your electric bill next month, but won’t do anything for your mental and emotional well-being right now. Moreover, dealing with your demons alone or drowning yourself in alcohol or drugs is the last thing you need.
2. Read the “Good Book” and Pray.
O.K., this is not the part in the post where we debate the existence of God or whether Christianity or Islam is the path to true happiness and enlightenment. I’m just sharing helpful tips that worked for me. If Buddhism is your spiritual remedy during tough times…more power to you. In addition, praying or meditating does wonderful things for your mental well-being and mood. Sometimes we just need to slow the brain down just long enough to catch up cognitively and spiritually. Again, regardless of your religious affiliation, the Bible and prayer presents incredibly comforting words of encouragement and hope that will help change your immediate perspective on life. Here’s a few passages that have helped me:
- Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and mountains quake with their surging.
- Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
If you don’t actually own a Bible, “there is an app for that.” Just download “Bible” app from the Apple App Store or any number of other Bible apps for your particular device.
3. Listen to Awesome Inspirational Speeches.
Love it or hate it, You Tube can serve as an incredibly helpful resource for motivational speeches or excerpts from world renown speakers like Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Linda Larsen, Colette Carlson, Joel Osteen, Dr. Eric Thomas (The Hip Hop Preacher), and many more. A number of these speeches are set to dramatic orchestral music and will stir your soul and ignite your spirit during rough patches in your life. Listening to these inspiring speakers will get you pumped up and ready to fight.
4. Be Grateful. Write Down 10 Things You’re Thankful For.
Yes, it sounds stupid, but when I found myself in a bad situation some years ago, my mentor at the time told me to sit down with a sheet of paper and write 10 things that I’m grateful for in my life right now. Obviously this can be a daunting task when you feel like your world is literally collapsing around you. Yep, initially, this will feel counter-intuitive, and frankly, counterproductive. However, if you actually do this simple task, you will soon discover that regardless of your current situation, God has given you infinitely more in the form of family, friends, health, and spiritual wealth than life appears to be “stealing” from you right now. Your perspective will begin to right-size itself. In a few weeks, you will find that your list will grow exponentially as your fears begin to diminish.
5. Watch The “Rocky Balboa” Motivational Speech Every Morning.
Yes, I admit that I’m that cheesy guy who watches hours of Rocky reruns during Christmas break. I love the enduring story of the underdog overcoming incredible odds and a lack of God-given talent to ultimately succeed in life. To many, Rocky symbolizes the common person coming from humble beginnings and a limiting and disadvantaged environment to prove that shear determination and grit will inevitably shatter the odds and ultimately level life’s playing field.
I invite you to listen to Rocky’s powerful interchange with his son in the movie Rocky Balboa (2006), where his son tries desperately to convince his father not to go through with his upcoming and ill-advised boxing match. I dare you not to walk away feeling ready to take on the world. It still gives me chills every time I hear it today.
6. Run Forest, Run.
No…you’re probably thinking I mean get “out of dodge”, move to Mexico, and run away from your problems. Instead, I’m referring to (literally) grabbing your Reebok or Nike running shoes and stepping on the treadmill or running trail. Why? Specialists believe that running, or exercise in general, promotes the release of the feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
Much like a natural antidepressant, running assists your brain in holding on to mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. In fact, Runnersworld.com recommends “running in quiet green spaces instead of on crowded streets…” trust me, you will feel 100 times better and running will help dissipate some of the fog and help provide you with some emotional clarity when you need it most.
7. Study How High-Achievers Overcame Debilitating Adversity.
Abraham Lincoln, arguably one of our greatest presidents, was born into poverty, lost eight elections, experienced two failed businesses, and literally suffered a nervous break down before ultimately winning the Presidency. Famous inventor Thomas Edison was known for saying “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Imagine if Edison gave up on his telephone invention after his third or fourth failure. Heck, you wouldn’t be reading this post on your iPhone 7 right now would you?
There was a time when hugely successful motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas was broke, homeless and eating out of trash cans for three years before he turned his life around. Now he probably makes more in a month than the Goombay Tally staff makes in a year. More importantly, “E.T.” is motivating people all over the world to be better, and achieve more In life.
Bottom-line: failure and mediocrity is not an experience just reserved for unknowns like you and I. Some of the planet’s most inspiring and talented geniuses have been to “hell and back” in their unrelenting pursuit of greatness. Remember, the problem that you are going through right now is only temporary. However, your reaction to this challenge will greatly impact the trajectory that your life will take starting today…starting right now. Get up. Move forward. Do the same thing again tomorrow morning. Things will get better, and you will be shaped and molded into a better version of yourself because of your tested resiliency and perseverance.
Is It Time to Find a New Church? Here’s 5 Blinking Light Indicators.
Written by Kathy McGinnis | Staff Writer for www.Goombay Tally | Religious and Humor
Experts claim there are over 37 million churches in the world right now with roughly 34,000 different Christian denominations mixed in. Additionally, there’s nearly 50,000 new ones added to that “holy roster” every year with about 1,200 of those being right here in the good ol’ United States. You guessed it, that’s a lot of different ways to “serve the Lord” if you will.
And just like a unique fingerprint … no two churches are exactly the same.
Furthermore, those statistics also mean that the probability of you and your family finding a church body that (specifically) meets every single one of your spiritual, doctrinal, and fellowship needs, is probably a long-shot at best. Instead, as Christians, we tend to find a church body that meets at least 70% of our perceived spiritual needs, and then we gradually become uncultured into that community.
That’s generally how it works I think.
But what happens when you start to feel that your church no longer sparks that fire in your soul anymore or as the legendary blues singer B.B. King would sing, “The Thrill is Gone”?
Now, before I get a ton of hate mail from churches across the world…I get it, the thrill for the Lord and his mercy should be in our hearts regardless of the church body we find ourselves in. But let’s be real here for a second…unfortunately, there are pastors and congregations out there that have the uncanny ability to suck the very life out of a church service specifically, and out of the Christian experience in general. We’ve all been there and done that I’m sure. Some of you are there now.
I remember moving to a new town in Colorado years ago and visiting my first church in the area. Without getting into the painful details, I nearly fell asleep (or as I now tell friends–fell into a holy coma) before the sermon was half-way over. Embarrassing drooling action and all. Yep, not proud of that moment by any stretch, but that first-time experience was enough for me to quickly continue my search for a new spiritual home without investing anymore time in a church that just wasn’t going to work out long term. And I suspect that we’ve all been there in the past.
So what do we do when we feel the need to exit the proverbial church “back door” (the metaphorical way to describe people leaving the church) as Dr. Thom Rainer wrote in his blog post, The Main Reason People Leave a Church. (thomrainer.com)
Thom Rainer also outlined in his post some direct quotes from exit interviews of people who actually left congregations:
- “The worship leader refused to listen to me about the songs and music I wanted.”
- “The pastor did not feed me.”
- “No one from my church visited me.”
- “I was not about to support the building program they wanted.”
- “I was out two weeks and no one called me.”
- “They moved the times of the worship services and it messed up my schedule.”
- “I told my pastor to go visit my cousin and he never did.”
Fascinating excuses for leaving your church, but I’ve attending many churches throughout my lifetime; not only within the United States but in seven separate countries. Each pastor, minister, or priest brought to their church and congregation their own unique brand of Christianity and worship.
That said, one universal truth that I’ve learned over time is that nobody (regardless of how much they convince you otherwise) has a complete lock on “Jesus” and what it takes to be an effective Christian. Grant it, some ministers are just better equipped to deliver and interpret the Word of God in such a way that resonates with our souls and seemingly enhances our personal experience with Christ.
…One universal truth that I’ve learned over time is that nobody (regardless of how much they convince you otherwise) has a complete lock on “Jesus” and what it takes to be an effective Christian.
These tend to be the churches that are logistically required to hold three separate services on Sunday morning, and require local Police or Sheriff Department traffic control checkpoints on Easter Sundays. They are huge.
And good for them. Their outreach capability and capacity is “boss.”
But if you are already well entrenched and established in a church — what are some signs that you just may not be getting the spiritual nourishment and growth that you were hoping for when you first started attending? The following is light-hearted (but all too often true) food for thought:
1. Your pastor lives in a $3 million mansion while the rest of the congregation is struggling to keep the lights on.
I’m not saying that God doesn’t want us to be prosperous in life and to enjoy physical blessings … on the contrary. But let’s be honest here…if your pastor is the only one in church driving a brand new Mercedes-Benz, living in a mansion the size of “Prince’s” compound, and wearing $5,000 suits…rest assure, his or her “prosperity ministry” only has one successful beneficiary…and it definitely ain’t you.
Now I’m certainly not knocking the successful televangelists who make millions of dollars a year, own sleek personal jets (and flight lines, *Kenneth Copeland), and need personal bodyguards when they travel … but the obvious irony here is that they are all living quite extravagantly by preaching and teaching about a man who lived a very servant-oriented, simplistic, minimalistic, and transient lifestyle by comparison.
Worst yet. I suspect that if Jesus physically set foot back on earth this afternoon and decided to pay a visit with one of his “elite” and dedicated evangelists at one of their uber-mansions in north Texas, their security teams would probably attempt to apprehend him and ask … “what business he has with Reverend (fill in the blank).”
Isn’t capitalism a wonderful thing?
2. When you invest a fortune into the “church fund” but the roof is literally falling in on itself.
I once sat through a church service years ago that collected three separate offerings from the congregation for the “church fund.” Frankly, it was embarrassing. It essentially turned the church service into an extended NPR fundraiser marathon. My family and I now refer to that service as the “Holy Shakedown” or the “First Baptist Church of the ATM.” Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of the physical building where you worship the Lord. That’s just good stewardship. However, if your church collects an extraordinary amount of money for a church fund but you can’t recall seeing a single major repair or upgrade in years … nuclear launch-style red flags and sirens should be blaring. (Also refer to Reason#1 above)
3. High fashion! Low outreach.
Have you ever attended a church service where the congregation looked like they were all in competition for the “Best Dressed Baptist of the Year Award”? No, that award doesn’t actually exist, (I don’t believe) but you’ve probably visited that church at one point in your life.
Essentially, if you’re not “dressed for success,” i.e., wearing fancy suits, expensive dresses, name brand footwear, and imported ties, don’t think about entering the holy sanctuary.” There have even been stories told of first-time attendees being turned away from worship at certain churches because they were not dressed in slacks, a suit and tie, or expensive dresses etc. That’s just shameful to me.
Personally, in a country where regular church attendance rates are dropping exponentially every year, I believe God is less concerned about what you wear in his house than the fact that you actually get your butt in a pew on Sunday in the first place. And yes, there is the issue of “appropriateness”… you certainly don’t want to see revealing clothing that distracts away from the service either. Trust me…eyes will wander…church or not. But I refuse to believe that God will turn you away at the door because you’re wearing a “John Deere” T-shirt and Wrangler jeans. But that’s just me. Bottomline: churches that seem more interested in outward appearances than how they can minister to the physical and spiritual needs of those that attend, may not be worth your time.
4. Wow! That was a great service…now what was the sermon about again?
— Zac Novak (@zacnovak) May 16, 2014
Growing and keeping a [young] church congregation in today’s socially progressive environment has to be a daunting task for sure and I don’t envy any pastor or church staff for that challenge. Let’s face it, the modern church is in direct competition with Hollywood, MTV, Drake, Kim Kardashian, the NFL, Swooping Meadows Golf Course (or something like that), and a society that rewards humanism and individuality while vehemently attacking religious institutions.
Moreover, pastors are slowly moving away from the traditional trappings of the past and embracing the subtle (and not so subtle) integration of modern technology, multimedia, coffee kiosks and donut stands, contemporary christian music, social media, and live streaming service capabilities. And honestly, I think it’s not only a good thing, but inevitable. Additionally, I don’t buy the belief that your service or worship is “more pure” if you forgo the cross-pollination of modern day technology or popular trends. But I have experienced services where you know the church leadership is not only “trying way to hard” to attract today’s youth, but probably find themselves out of bounds both biblically and spiritually. Bottoming: If your church has so many distractions that you walk out not really remembering what the main takeaway was from the sermon, there may be some focus issues going on.
5. Checkbox Christians.
I’ll be the last person to proclaim that I have everything in life all figured out and that I’m the poster child for Christianity Today Magazine. I fail on a daily basis. Sometimes hourly.
So I certainly tread lightly when I use the term “checkbox christians” or professed christians who [really] only attend church to meet their perceived civic, family, or traditional obligations. I remember inviting my roommate in college to church one Sunday and he surprisingly agreed to attend even after a late night partying at a few of the local clubs in the area. I still chuckle today when I recall my roommate and I quickly finding a pew to sit down and him suddenly focusing his stare on an attractive young lady sitting to the far right side of the chapel. I cringed to think what comment he was about to make about her but was even more surprised to hear him yell out instead, “Hey, I saw her at the club last night!” It was both mortifying and hilarious at the same time.
But to my point.
I attend church to draw inspiration, mentoring, motivation, and encouragement from those who are patently different from regular “Joe” who drinks too much, chases too many women, and uses the Lord’s name in ways that will make you grandmother slap you into next Thursday.
When I attend church, I personally need the strength and motivation of those who are going to help keep my sorry butt out of the clubs and hangouts that will destroy my walk with Christ. If you find that your church lacks those mentors in an exponential way…it may be time to find a different church to facilitate your continued spiritual growth.
In summary, there is no perfect church out there in the religious ecosystem, but there are certainly (more than) enough to find the one that facilitates your walk with God in a meaningful and inspirational way.
Written by Goombay Tally Staff | Goombay Tally Blog
The People of Alabama Appropriately Handled Judge Roy Moore … Then Twitter Mercilessly Finished Him Off With These 11 Crazy Tweets
By Andrew Brock | Staff writer for www.goombaytally.com | Judge Roy Moore
The December 12, 2017 Alabama Senate seat race wasn’t just a major political event for the people of Alabama, or even for the United States. This race was closely followed, scrutinized, and analyzed on the broader global stage as well. Why? Well, most would agree that this race served as a windsock, or gauge for the current administration’s net influence, momentum, and political potency in United States right now.
With the state of Alabama electing its first Democratic senator in over two decades, do these election results tell us which way the 2020 winds are blowing? Maybe … but who really knows. Right?
Last year’s elections taught us all a valuable lesson about the accuracy of pre-election predictions and the “myth of absolutes” in the strange city we call Washington D.C. (cue the You Tube montage of bumbling CNN and MSNBC reporters trying to figure out what’s going on with the early Trump and Hillary poll numbers. All wide-eyed, frazzled, and perplexed … like Mike Tyson stuck in a Calculus 301 class at Stanford University on a pop quiz day.)
And I think the rest of us were honestly just waiting to see if the good people of Alabama would actually live up to their existing stereotypes and “reputation” by electing a candidate that nonchalantly used the words: slavery, great, and country in the same incoherent sentence.
A modern day, living, breathing artifact from Alabama’s twisted civil rights past. Not to mention a man facing a barrage of sexual harassment and assault allegations from women whose level of social stress and anxiety at such a young age should have been attributed to things like: figuring out what to wear to the prom … or does Jimmy Bob in her history class, like her … not from being stalked by a grown man wearing a cowboy hat.
Now, I believe in due process and innocence until proven guilty like anyone else, but as one of my mentors once told me regarding the cumulative effect of a lifetime of dishonesty, corruption, and lawlessness on a human being’s life, he said: “If you get to where you are in life by treating people like dirt or nonhuman… the wolves will come for you. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. Hell … it may not even happen for decades. But rest assure, they will eventually come for you.”
“If you get to where you are in life by treating people like dirt or nonhumans… the wolves will come for you. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. Hell … it may not even happen for decades. But rest assure, they will eventually come for you,” he said.
Judge Roy Moore … I think the wolves have finally come for you sir. And they’re wearing high heels to boot.
If you’ve been paying attention to Twitter over the past 12 hours, you will notice that the tweets are also coming for Roy Moore and they are not merciful or forgiving by any stretch of the imagination. Here are 11 that will certainly leave a mark shaped like the state of Alabama on the “good” judge:
Sounds great Roy – let me know when you get some Christian values and I’ll be there!
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) November 30, 2017
Bring It On is a movie about high school cheerleaders https://t.co/THLhYwpZSf
— Chris Hansen (@tankcat) November 16, 2017
— StillLes4Hill (@StillLes4Hill) December 13, 2017
Alabama voters to Roy Moore:
**** you and the horse you rode in on !!#AlabamaSenateElection #ALsen #Alabama #DougJones #ThankYouAlabama #RoyMoore #Resist #Trump #1u #tcot #maga #NewDay #MorningJoe #TheResistance pic.twitter.com/Mw2xh9owqI
— Richard Angwin (@RichardAngwin) December 13, 2017
Roy Moore Spokesman appears to have a seizure after being schooled by Jake Tapper. pic.twitter.com/hn4BpKqdNI
— Rogelio Garcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) December 13, 2017
Live look at Roy Moore's horse pic.twitter.com/G1zHbQHDu7
— The Glare (@TheGlare_TM) December 13, 2017
Roy Moore could try out for the cowboy in The Village People except he’s been banned from the YMCA pic.twitter.com/kBq1qKdYfk
— Paul Lander (@paul_lander) December 13, 2017
Roy Moore waiting on the Lord pic.twitter.com/PYDAcTKa3H
— Carlos de la Torre (@voiceofthetower) December 14, 2017
Forget the senate election. Roy Moore still hasn’t conceded the Civil War.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 13, 2017
Forget the voters of Alabama. Even Sassy the Horse rejected Roy Moore.
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) December 13, 2017
Fat Smitty’s Crazy Christmas Story
Written by Andrew Brock | www.goombaytally.com | Goombay Tally Blog Writers | Fat Smitty
Growing up in North Philadelphia in the 1970s was an incredibly eclectic, challenging, complicated, yet wonderful part of my formative years as a child.
The rich stories from the communities and neighborhoods percolated out of our motley, poor, rundown streets and helped craft and mold our adulthood resiliency, attitudes, work ethic, and general outlook and perspectives on life and living.
The holidays were especially memorable for my family and I in the “City of Brother Love.” I remember how the beautiful winter snow had a clever way of concealing the abject poverty, garbage, clutter, and urban ugliness that would often be painfully evident during any other season of the year.
But not Christmas. Christmas was magical.
I would squint my eyes during snowstorms, and realize that for a few months, even North Philadelphia can be a beautiful, quaint, and postcard worthy place if you saw it from the right perspective and restrictive vantage point.
Today, as I sit here preparing for the Holidays with my family and watching my own kids decorating the Christmas tree and rattling off their memorized list of toys and electronics that Santa will be stuffing down the chimney, I stare at the flat screen T.V. in the family room and quietly reflect on the notable Christmas memories from my youth.
Vastly different from what my kids experienced today, but just different … not better.
The obligatory, A Christmas Story marathon is playing now. My kids occasionally pause from their tree decorating and basic shenanigans just long enough to catch the funniest parts of the movie: “Flick” getting his tongue stuck on the flag pole during recess, Ralphie almost shooting his eye out, and the classic Chinese rendition of “Deck the Halls” and Chinese Turkey at Bo’ Ling Chop Suey Palace.
I glanced out the window and marveled at how blessed my kids are today. My parents had very little money but still managed to make Christmas an incredibly magical time for all of us. In a funny way, I feel sad for my kids.
Sad because they will never experience a Christmas that just seemed more genuine back in the day. No iPads, iPhones, X-Boxes, or … heck, cable television to distract from what really mattered during this season: family…family…family.
Our holidays seemed like a warm Norman Rockwell painting — just with poor happy black families in the frame instead.
Christmas is too commercialized and complicated these days. Unfortunately, this special day has been hijacked and carried away by the retail industry and basic human greed for decades. Selfish consumers trampling little old ladies and toddlers for 50% off on a meaningless piece of plastic that was made by an overworked and underpaid worker in China.
Christmas has lost some of its authenticity I think.
My parents did the best that they could with what they had. All the while, being happy that they had family and togetherness.
However, the one thing that each generation will TRULY be able to cherish and share equally, is the enjoyment of rich memorable Christmas stories that will inevitably and invariably unfold during this special time of the year.
My Fat Smitty Holiday Story
That said … I will never forget the craziest Christmas story from my youth. A story that involved my Uncle Smitty (formerly, Reginald Smith) on the streets of Columbia Avenue (now Cecil B. Moore Avenue) back in the 1970s.
Uncle Smitty or “Fat Smitty,” as the fellas called him, was my father’s oldest brother who just returned from his second tour in Vietnam and probably (no…most definitely) needed some serious psychological assistance dealing with the horrors that he saw over there. But this was a time before phrases like Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD) became a household name and generally accepted in the psychological community.
He also came home from war and ballooned from a fit and firm 170 pound, Army fighting machine to 290 pounds in a very short period of time. The war was bad for Uncle Smitty. He didn’t talk about it much, but we all knew that he saw things over there that were still mercilessly haunting him at night. He was never the same when he returned. It was like a piece of him was still in Vietnam. But we all loved him to death regardless.
For the record, Uncle Smitty had no kids, though he had a constant flow of transient girlfriends … but never married, and never really settled down.
The Christmas of 1974 would be his second Christmas back in the United States since his recent combat tour and trust me,he had every intention of enjoying it.
For the record, Uncle Smitty had no kids, though he had a constant flow of transient girlfriends … but never married, and never really settled down.
Fat Smitty, was known for his wild and crazy antics back in the day, and believe me, Christmas was certainly no exception. So… in the spirit of the Holiday season, and as a fitting way to carry this unique Christmas story over to the next generation … well, sort of. I proudly present to you … Fat Smitty’s Christmas Story.
I swear to you that most of it is “absolutely” true. Now enjoy.
Fat Smitty’s Christmas Story
By Andrew Brock (Writer and Philadelphia Native Son)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all throughout Philly,
The weather was bone cold, downright freezing and chilly.
The bars were all closing, last call for the pubs,
Fat Smitty grabbed his coat, and emptied his glass mug
He had not a wife, nor children, or even a fur pet,
We were the only real family, for this gritty and tough Vet.
Mamma baked gingerbread cookies while Pops put up the tree,
Big sisters carried the ornaments and drank Eggnog with glee.
We were having big fun but was soon getting late,
No sign of Fat Smitty, how long could we wait.
Pops had invited him over to share some Holiday cheer,
Would he spend Christmas alone, drinking Bourbon or beer?
The snow fell on the City, like a blanket of dust,
The icy streets were now quiet, not even a bus.
Only the stop lights now flickered on this holiest of Eves,
On Wissahickon, on Broad Street, a rough City is at ease.
Smitty walked home slowly, just mumbling to himself,
“Man I hate the Holiday Season, damn that Santa and his Elf.”
“Ain’t no brothas’ got no chimneys, to drop his fat butt down,”
“I guess only rich kids get Christmas chimneys, while lil’ north Philly kids get frowns.”
“How the heck is that fair, aint Santa Claus for them all?”
“For the white, black, and yellow…for the short, medium, and tall?”
Suddenly, Fat Smitty was struck with a brilliant, holiday plan,
He’d bring a classic Santa “chimney” Christmas, to his good brother and fam.
Now, Uncle Smitty was in construction, so kept his tools in his truck,
He quickly grabbed his sledge hammer and threw our gifts in his ruck.
He drove his old pickup, straight down Columbia way,
Like a fearless “brotha” Santa, but flying a Chevy,’stead of a sleigh.
And then, in a twinkle, we heard a crash on the roof,
Like the bounding and stomping of a drunk in work boots.
As we ran outside and swiftly focused our glance,
We saw Fat Smitty and his hammer as he started his dance
He boogied down to strange music, that only he seemed to hear,
He smiled and screamed “Merry Christmas family, I bring you peace and good cheer!”
My Pops was straight speechless, as Smitty ‘s voice echoed strong and thick,
“My little bro gonna have a chimney this Christmas, just right for ol’ St. Nick!
His crazed eyes were now blood-shot, his hair white from snow,
His hands were near frozen, his ice-filled beard seemed to glow.
With a quick wink of his eye and a nod of his head,
Uncle Smitty lowered his mighty hammer, much to my poor father’s dread.
The boom could be heard, clear out to South Cherry Hill,
The neighbors were now all awake, “Hey, Fat Smitty … man, what’s the big deal?”
Grumpy Ol’ Lady Rainee threw open her window and screamed, “I’m callin’ the cops!”
Before that crazy Fat Smitty, straight tears up our block?”
The streets were now filled with Police lights, yes, … six or more cars,
Uncle Smitty’s Christmas chimney project, could put that brotha’ behind bars.
“What the heck is he doing?” said Sergeant Stacks in dismay,
“Did this guy go plum nuts, on this peaceful, Christmas Eve day?
“He’s my brother,” said Pops, in a low, cautious tone,
“He’s a combat Vet, and quite lonely, this is kind of his home.”
“He wanted to build a nice chimney, for his family to enjoy,”
“To watch St. Nick drop down through it, with a sack full of toys.”
“Please don’t arrest him, his intentions were all good,”
“I won’t press no charges, it’s just a few shingles and wood.”
So the Police gave Fat Smitty a break, and the crazy drunk came inside,
He gave us cool gifts, drank black coffee, and with joyful cheer Smitty cried:
“Merry Christmas my family…you know your Uncle Smitty aint quite right…but Seasons Greetings to all, and to all, a Good Night!”
Written by Andrew Brock | Goombay Tally Blog Writers | goombaytally.com | Share us on Facebook! | Contact us in the comments section
Remember to check on a Veteran during this holiday season. Make sure all is well. Merry Christmas!
Photo by Eric Welch on Upsplash.com
Failing to Do the Small Things Can Lead to Hellish Consequences.
By Scott McGinnis, CEO, XGrunt Inc. | www.goombaytally | Business Leadership | Business Management | Please contact us at [email protected] for feedback, writer or lecture requests, and advertisement details.
On one cold, fateful night on April 15, 1912, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, historians tell us that British Merchant Navy officer, Captain Edward John Smith, made a series of avoidable maritime blunders which could have ultimately prevented the tragedy we all know as the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Moreover, we now know that captain Smith and his crew failed to accomplish [procedurally] very “small and simple” tasks that [cumulatively] could have saved 1,517 precious lives.
Mind you, Captain Edward Smith is mostly known and praised for stoically and heroically remaining on his “unsinkable” ship as it submerged into its eternal resting place on the bottom of the cold Atlantic ocean. However, inquisitive historical experts have meticulously combed through carefully preserved records of both American and British reviewing agencies, to assess and identify a laundry list of poor leadership decisions, willful noncompliance with maritime navigational protocol, and well … just good ol’ common sense in many instances.
For example, historian Allen Gibson, author of The Unsinkable Titanic: The Triumph Behind a Disaster, noted that Smith was [indeed] fully aware that the world’s largest liner was headed directly into a 78-mile iceberg zone on his voyage from Southampton, England to New York. However, knowing the inherent dangers associated with navigating such a treacherous area would be, Gibson noted that Captain Smith made a conscious choice to dine with wealthy passengers and hit the sack early that night instead of exercising proactive leadership and putting into motion small, but effective actions that would have turned the maiden voyage of the Titanic into a celebratory historical event instead of the disastrous maritime tragedy that we all read about in history class.
In fact, records show us that Captain Smith left the daunting task of dodging icebergs with his first officer William Murdoch that night as he retired to his quarters.
Historians and maritime experts are still scratching their heads today over other equally fateful decisions that Smith and his crew made that would seem intuitive now – but were not accomplished for whatever reason during that 1912 voyage. For instance, why didn’t Smith simply change the ship’s course altogether or at least reduce the ship’s top speed of 22.5 knots at a minimum.
Here’s one: why didn’t Smith’s two lookouts in the Titanic’s crow’s nest have binoculars with them early that morning? Would something as simple as possessing “better optics” in the crow’s nest have given Murdoch enough of a warning and lead to avoid the fatal iceberg? Who knows? But again, these are [seemingly] small disciplines, that could have significantly changed the outcome of the Titanic’s voyage at 2:20 a.m.
Similarly, many aren’t aware that captain Smith waited an entire 20 minutes after his ship hit the iceberg before he finally directed his wireless operators on board to send out distress calls to nearby vessels.
That means that the next time you sit down and watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory, it would have taken captain Smith almost the entirety of the program before he decided to let anyone know he was in deep trouble. The tragic fate of the Titanic was unfortunately facilitated by several [cumulative] missed opportunities and leadership failures.
Doing the Small, Boring, Repeatable, Things Everyday is Vital to Effective Military Operations.
The United States military is not a perfect institution, but it sure as heck is the best in the world by a long shot. And that’s all that really counts on the battlefield at the end of the day. One of the premier attributes of our military leadership enterprise, is its ability to dissect, examine and perform academic autopsies on military accidents, mishaps, or operational miscalculations … and in turn, build digestible lessons learned opportunities around them.
Why do you think there are [literally] checklists for almost every conceivable process or procedure in the armed forces? My basic training buddies used to joke that there had to be a comprehensive checklist in the Army for using toilet paper when you’re sitting on the “crapper.” And if there wasn’t one in print at the time … then there had to be some poor staff officer sitting down somewhere putting one together.
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Yes, there are about a million things in the world more exciting than running a pre-flight check on a F-15C fighter jet … but doing these critical “little” things could possibly prevent this lethal, $27.9 million aircraft from tragically falling out of the sky.
The 1994 Fairchild Air Force Base B-52 crash, the U.S. Army’s Ft. Hood shooting in 2009, and the USS John S. McCain’s collision with an oil tanker in the summer of 2017 … all serve as powerful lessons learned for our nation’s military leaders today. After a disastrous tragedy like the ones mentioned above; evaluators, investigators, or inspector general offices will typically examine every operational guidance publication, training module, management decision, equipping profile, and execution variable that could have possibly contributed to the accident or mishap.
We then use these lessons to help prevent similar occurrences in the future. Consequently, we rewrite lessons plans, readjust our training objectives, and yes … revisit our policies and checklists based on these historical events. That’s what professional organizations do. But in order to correct potentially harmful business or organizational practices in the future, leaders have to be incredibly transparent and painfully honest when examining their critical programs.
What Will the Devin Kelley Investigation Ultimately Tell Us About The Importance of Doing the Small Things Everyday?
Just days following the First Baptist Church shooting by former Air Force Airman, Devin Patrick Kelley, we’re finding out that Air Force law enforcement agencies failed to submit Kelley’s criminal history data to the appropriate federal databases as required by national and Department of Defense policy.
Again, a simple [small] thing to accomplish on the balance, but we now know the potentially hellish consequences of not alerting federal agencies of mentally and emotionally unstable individuals in a timely manner.
Could Kelley still have acquired a weapon even if the Air Force followed DoD guidance and reported Kelley’s required criminal background information to the FBI’s database? Possibly. But that’s not what’s being reported in the media right now. Right now, Don Lemon is talking about the U.S. military failing to “do the small things” — when it counts.
The ironic part of this story is that the Air Force actually has the highest criminal history data submission compliance rate out of all the services. Unfortunately, all it takes is one miss, one failed submission, and one lunatic in Texas to bring you and your organization under the national spotlight.
Invariably, the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, FBI, and finally … Congress will closely examine the timeline of events that ultimately led Airman Kelley to carry a Ruger AR-556 rifle into a peaceful, quiet church outside of San Antonio, TX and take the lives of 25 (plus one unborn child) innocent Americans.
Inevitably, we will find out that people in critical and trusted positions of authority and responsibility, probably failed to follow DoD guidance and neglected to accomplish a series of small things that may be time consuming, boring, and tedious … but at the end of the day, could have [potentially] saved precious lives, and kept the U.S. Air Force off of the front page of the Washington Post.
Ensuring Your Organization is Taking Care of the Small Things.
As leaders and managers, this incident should force us all to stop … pause, and think about what small things or processes our teams may be “dialing in” on or just going through the motions procedurally, and not exercising the required attention and focus that it demands.
By Scott McGinnis | Goombay Tally | Share us on Linkedin